The Walking Englishman
We managed to catch up with Mike Brockhurst aka The Walking Englishman before he strolled off in to the distance, and asked him about his outdoor adventures.
The Walking Englishman Interview - Mike Brockhurst
We catch up with Mike Brockhurst The Walking Englishman as he talks to Hike.Mountain.Trail about his outdoor experiences.
Hi Mike, many thanks for taking the time to chat with Hike. Mountain. Trail
HMT: We have visited your excellent The Walking Englishman website – www.walkingenglishman.com – countless times. But for those who have yet to visit, please tell us a little about it and what visitors can expect to find there.
MB: Strangely I started The Walking Englishman as a personal diary, just to record my walks and keep them on line so I could look back at them and share with my friends too. Not for one minute did I expect it to become what it has. In time I did more walks and in more places. Some of the walks began to make progress in searches such as on Google and Yahoo. This delighted me and so I decided to provide walks from more areas. And then people started writing in to me asking for advice, for walks to do, places to stay and so I shared my experiences with them, offering advice too. I love the way the site is now appreciated and I enjoy the viewer interaction. I have also made good friends through the site which is one of the best benefits.
HMT: Can you remember your very first hike/walk?
MB: My first walks were as a youngster in the Osmotherley area of the North York Moors where my parents used to take me and my brothers as children on a weekend. I distinctly remember the thrill of walking along the paths near Cod Beck Reservoir and from the paths into the heather to explore. My grandfather, a survivor of the Somme in WW1 also took me for walks when in my infant years around the lanes and fields surrounding my home village of Brompton near Northallerton. However, after years of working and travelling after leaving school I rediscovered my passion for walking in 1994 when I completed my first long distance walk. The Coast to Coast walk from 1st May – 12th May 1994 changed my life.
HMT: Out of all the places you have visited, what would be your favourite?
MB: So many to choose from but if I had to choose then I would say the Scafells from Seathwaite if in the Lake District, the Great Ridge if in the Peak District, the Snowdon Horseshoe if in North Wales, Gunnerside Gill and Swinner Gill if in the Yorkshire Dales, etc. So many….
HMT: Have you ever started a walk and thought you wish you hadn’t?
MB: No though I have cursed during many a long distance walk. During the seminal Coast to Coast walk in 1994 I suffered from terrible foot swelling and limped in pain a lot. At the end of day 4 I crawled into Richmond in extreme pain! However, I was always determined to carry on by the next morning. When I did my Great British Walk of 1,200 miles in 80 days during the spring and summer of 2011 I started in the far north west of Scotland by walking the Cape Wrath Trail. It was difficult to walk as I suffered impact damage on my left heel and hobbled during the 3rd week. And when it rained it rained. I often felt sorry for myself but my inner thoughts were always cheering. I simply love the great outdoors and walking out there. Whatever the conditions.
HMT: What would you recommend as an essential piece of kit when hiking/walking?
MB: I always carry a dedicated GPS device. Though I always carry map and compass, having learnt navigation skills because I walk solo and off route quite a lot, the added security of GPS correlation of location is always a reassurance. Also, even in the height of summer, I carry wet weather gear, top and trousers at all times. And I always carry a first aid kit too. Oh, that is three essentials but ALL THREE are vital to me before I set off.
HMT: Have you ever had an accident or ‘near miss’ when hiking?
MB: Never in terms of risk to myself because I learned a real lesson in those visits to Osmotherley as a youngster. Then, aged about 10, I got half way up a small crag climb and lost my nerve. I could not complete my climb and I was too afraid to climb down. My father rescued me, my mum rebuked me and since then I have recalled her words of advice “Never start something you cannot finish”. So, if on a scramble like Jack’s Rake, or when crossing something like Sharp Edge I picture the climb/ crossing first, embedding it in my mind. Then I go and do it without hesitation. However, I have tripped over bramble trails or in a rabbit hole and stumbled. I try to do a full circle if I do so and carry on as if nothing happened!
HMT: What would be your dream hike?
MB: Around the world, seriously! In reality I have walked lots of Britain’s National Trails and would like to complete them all. I would also like to do an Alpine long distance walk, say the tour of Mont Blanc.
HMT: Mountain hike or lakeside stroll? (And why?)
MB: Both, mountain hike by myself as I love solo walking in the mountains. Lakeland stroll with my wife. She is not a long distance walker but she does enjoy a walk around a lake or beside a river/ canal.
If you haven’t yet visited Mike’s website then make sure you do. It’s full of detailed walks and hikes, maps, and a ton of other information…and Mike’s sense of humour is pretty good too!
Many thanks once again to The Walking Englishman Mike Brockhurst for chatting to Hike. Mountain. Trail